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London named most congested city in Europe

61Motorists in the capital spend four days each year stuck in traffic, study finds

London was today named as Europe’s most congested city for the first time, with motorists spending four whole days on average stuck in traffic each year.

The capital was ranked eighth in Europe in 2011 but quickly climbed to first place in 2014, overtaking Brussels, Cologne and Antwerp, according to statistics by transport analysts INRIX.

Drivers spent an average 96 hours in traffic in 2014 – a 14-hour increase on the previous year.

Analysts attributed the rise in traffic delays to the growth in the economy, population growth and an increase in employment.

A 10-mile stretch of the A217, stretching from Sutton to the New Kings Road in Fulham was the capital’s most congested road, costing drivers who use it regularly 139 hours, or six days, each year in traffic.

The five most gridlocked roads in UK are all in the capital and include the A215 and A4, where drivers lose more than 100 hours a year queuing in traffic.

Garrett Emmerson, Transport for London’s chief operating officer for surface transport, said: “London’s continued success has made it one of the world’s most popular cities in which to live, work and visit, which also makes it one of the busiest.

“We are seeing unprecedented increases in population and this, combined with strong economic growth and the consequent increase in building and construction, creates more traffic. To tackle this, we need continued, sustained investment to boost capacity and modernise London’s road network.

“That’s why we invest every penny of our income in improving the capital’s transport network, including an unprecedented £4bn pounds over the next few years to transform junctions, bridges, tunnels, cycling lanes and pedestrian areas.”

For the third year running, traffic in the UK is up,” said Bryan Mistele, President and CEO, INRIX. “The strong growth of the UK economy and rise in urban populations have resulted in an increase in the demand for road travel, significantly driving levels of congestion up across the country.”

Work recently started on Boris Johnson’s flagship cycle superhighway on the Victoria Embankment, aiming to encourage more people to cycle to reduce traffic.

Across the UK drivers lost an average of 30 hours in traffic last year.

The worst areas in the UK after London are Greater Manchester, Merseyside, greater Belfast and greater Birmingham.

The UK’s population grew by 491,100 last year, reaching a record high. London’s population also experienced high growth in 2014, increasing by 122,100 people.